Mia M. Jackson • Sideline Pass • Up close and sporty!
Rick Carlisle has been here before. As a winning player and a losing coach, he knows what the NBA Finals games feel like. Coach Carlisle now watches his superstar etch new legends in NBA stone as Dirk Nowitski continues to do during the 2011 Playoffs, sweeping Kobe’s Lakers out the door and now cooling down the Big 3’s Heat.
Whether it’s been from the coach’s bench, on the practice floor or playing aside a legend, Dallas Mavericks Coach Rick Carlisle has had brushes with greatness since entering the NBA in 1984. The solid basketball player came into the legendary Boston Celtics locker room and played with Hall of Famer Larry Bird, winning a ring in 1986. His 2000 Pacers and 2002-03 Pistons teams were excellent, but both bumped against history – the Bulls and Lakers – falling short of earning the finals parade. So this time, he chooses to stay in the moment.
We're going to play whistle to whistle. I heard that term. Been watching the hockey series. A lot of the people in the hockey world use that term. And that's what we're going to do.” Coach Carlisle post-game 6/9/11
Clearly, Carlisle brings with him to these finals what Miami Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra doesn’t in a bird’s eye view of the full playoff landscape, not just the court. He can keep his game old school because he was there with the old school, if only for a few seasons.
Persistence is our game. We're an old-school team. We're not high fliers. We have a couple of guys that can get up in the air a little bit. Our game is near the ground. We have to play with brains and guts.“ Coach Carlisle post-game 6/9/11
Coach Carlisle flat out-coached Spoelstra – especially in closing moments. Who else (other than my favorite Zen Master) would have put J.J. Barea in the starting lineup this late into the series? That simple switch added speed, attitude and energy with a brilliant move that Miami has yet to match.
The Dallas Mavericks head coach’s game plan continues to adjust beautifully to the strong games of opponents such as Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and now LeBron James with one star and a team of journeymen who understand the importance of every single basket. So can he get a little respect for that?
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